Grant of $5,000, local volunteers help with new baseball, softball fiel

Boys and girls in the Towanda area are playing on much-needed new fields this summer, thanks to a $5,000 grant from the Kansas City Royals.

The Royals Charities “Royalty Fields” Program helped the City of Towanda build completely new grass surfaces on both its baseball/softball fields with its financial gift.

“It is truly fantastic that the Kansas City Royals organization gives back to recreation programs like this,” said Circle Rec Baseball and Softball Janet Varner, who applied for the grant. “It was our goal to have safer and better maintained fields for the kids, and the Royals came through with a huge assist.”

So did a handful of local volunteers. Varner estimates that John Ronnebaum, Dennis Mullins and Billy Bardin spent more than 100 hours apiece working on the irrigation system and seeding the fields, starting last autumn. Carl Tosh and Greg Shulte also put in some hours, Varner said.

The project was supplemented with a previous $3,000 donation from Keystone Pipeline. The City of Towanda assisted with getting the fields leveled prior to the work beginning on the irrigation system. 

“With the Royals’ grant, along with a generous donation from the Keystone Pipeline and the hundreds of volunteer hours by John, Dennis and Billy, the Towanda ball fields have never looked better,” Varner said. “The Towanda community is blessed to have individuals who step up to help whenever there is a need."

The “Royalty Fields” program is supported by the Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation.

The Towanda Baseball/Softball Complex was developed in 1975 by community volunteers to provide fields for youth teams, and volunteers have worked to maintain the fields with limited resources ever since. Funds used to maintain the fields have come from player registrations, local sponsors and donations.